Seeking Light

By Richard Mineards   |   January 16, 2019
Documentary director Louise Palanker

The late Santa Barbara artist and poet Margaret Singer, who died at the age of 98 last year, is the focus of a new documentary by local director and documentary maker Louise Palanker.

The 20-minute short “Margaret Singer: Seeking Light” tells how the Frankfurt-born citizen fled Nazism and lost her family in the Holocaust, moving to New York in 1939, studying art.

She moved to our Eden by the Beach, attending UCSB and City College, eventually becoming a teacher there, doing portrait, figure and landscape painting for two decades.

Palanker, who made the documentary We Played Marbles: Remembering a Stolen Childhood in 2007 and Family Band: The Cowsills Story, six years ago, says she met Singer 12 years ago while filming more than 30 Santa Barbara area Holocaust survivors for an exhibit, Portraits of Survival.

“I was instantly taken by her magic. I began to hear stories about how, at 85, she could be spotted riding her bike around town and how her tiny apartment was filled with thousands of paintings, sculptures, and poetry journals.

“I saw Margaret often at lectures, art shows, the farmer’s market, temple. The girl got around. I aspired to get to know her better and make a film about her. Last year my husband said to me, ‘If you really want to make a movie about Margaret, you should do it now.’ That was the push I needed.

“Both her resilience and her fierce independence serve as inspiration for all of us. We won’t all face the deliberate destruction of our home and family, and we won’t all choose to turn away from marriage and housework, but we do all encounter cruelty and tragedy, and we do all have unique sparks and threads which are not fully understood by others. Margaret gives us courage to overcome adversity and permission to proudly march to whatever drum we hear.”

The film is part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, showing at the Arlington on Sunday at 5 pm.

Baby Fever

Santa Barbara warbler Katy Perry and British actor Orlando Bloom are set to become man and wife after four years of on and off dating.

And the Lord of the Rings star says he is looking forward to starting their own family once they tie the knot.

Bloom, 42, tells a British newspaper he’s excited to have a child with the former Dos Pueblos High student, who he describes as “a big kid” at heart.

“Listen, I love kids. I love that she is great with kids and it would be a wonderful thing. We are shooting for that. I mean, she’s like a kid, so she’s unbelievable with kids.”

The tony twosome became engaged on Valentine’s Day last year after three years of on-off dating.

In the Lab

Montecito actress Gwyneth Paltrow is taking on psychedelia, female sexuality and energy healing in her new Netflix show, The Goop Lab, which focuses on the boundary pushing – and sometimes dangerous – wellness treatments featured on her lifestyle website.

The 47-year-old Oscar winner and Goop founder hosts the series along with Chief Content Officer Elise Loehnen, who boldly reveals she had an “exorcism” in a new trailer for the six-episode series that premieres January 24.

The trailer is broken down into segments – energy healing, psychedelics, cold therapy, psychic medicines, and orgasm – all topics explored by the lifestyle guru and her team.

In Carol’s Footsteps

How appropriate that TV talk show Ellen DeGeneres should have won the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.

Ellen, who was sitting at the same table as Carol, a Montecito neighbor, at the Beverly Hilton, is the second recipient of the honor, which was created in 2018 to salute excellence in television. Carol was last year’s winner.

Ellen’s Burbank-based show is now in its 17th season and has been renewed through 2021-22. It has received a record 11 Daytime Emmys.


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